Thesis Proposal Guidelines

Thesis Proposal

The thesis proposal should have three sections: an introduction, a brief literature review, and a method section. The proposal needs to be only a few pages. Some students have written the first three chapters of the thesis, and use that, but a brief proposal is acceptable.


This section should describe the problem to be studied, what the study will try to accomplish, and its significance. Hypotheses, if appropriate, should appear at the end of this section.

Literature Review

A brief overview of studies relevant to the problem to be studied should be written. It need not be exhaustive.


This section describes the methods to be used in the study. This should include; (1) the number of subjects, and how they will be selected, where they are coming from; (2) If any paper and pencil measures are to be used, they should be described and in an appendix. (If a well-known instrument is being used, an appendix is not necessary). This is particularly important if the researcher is developing his/her own questions, as the committee will want to read them and probably make modifications; and (3) there should be a description of the details of how data is to be collected. A section describing data analysis is optional, as the committee will probably make suggestions.

As indicated, the proposal may be brief. There needs to be a clear statement of what is to be studied, evidence that the writer knows what type of literature to review, and a plan for conducting the research.


Brandt 329
Department of Criminal Justice & Sociology
One University Plaza, MS 7950
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701